APIs for 3D Printing?

APIs for 3D Printing?API enthusiast Kin Lane (above) has started working on a set of APIs for 3D printing. Wait, what’s an API again? It’s software, specifically the precise interface between programs. In other words, APIs are the equivalent of “standard electrical plugs” and the like between any software programs. The presence of APIs tends to encourage the development of software because the authors know that their works are less likely to become obsolete if they adhere to a known, public standard. 
But what APIs would exist? It’s not known yet, as Lane has just embarked on the development of the APIs. So far he’s identified the following areas that may have associated APIs:
  • Creators – 3D designers of virtual print objects
  • Scanners – Scanning hardware for generating 3D models
  • Modeling Software – Applications for building 3D models
  • File Formats – File formats for storing 3D models
  • Warehousing – Virtual storage for 3D models
  • Marketplaces – Arenas for showcasing, distributing and ordering 3D products
  • Printers – Companies and hardware that deliver 3D printing
  • Process & Materials – The process and materials that go into 3D printing
  • Makers – The people who understand 3D printers, process, materials and industries
  • Delivery – Logistics behind getting 3D printed products to consumers
Will the APIs that come from this venture succeed? That’s a big question, as the existence of an API doesn’t guarantee that anyone will use it. One important development would be the support of a major player in the 3D printing ecosystem, but that  is unlikely at this stage. 
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